5 Facts About the Luftwaffe’s Twin Heinkel Bomber

5 Facts About the Luftwaffe’s Twin Heinkel Bomber | World War Wings Videos

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The Heinkel He-111 ‘Zwilling’ was built as a tug to tow the gigantic Messerschmitt Me 321 ‘Gigant’ transport glider. What’s unique about this plane is that it looked like two He-111s stuck together! 

Here are five interesting facts that you need to know about the Luftwaffe’s twin Heinkel bombers: 

1. The idea behind the aircraft was conceptualized because Germany didn’t have a towing aircraft

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The Ju 90, which was the biggest German transport in service during that time, struggled with the Me 321. As a result, Heinkel at the behest of Ernst Udet, built the He 111Z.

Despite its unorthodox design, the prototype was praised by test pilots. It surprisingly offered a good performance and handling and was ordered for initial trials. 

2. Most of the units were built from H-6 airframes from existing production lines

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The only completely new part of the assembly was the construction of the central wing section that was utilized to connect the two He-111 airframes together. 

3. The plane had a total of five engines

The plane could remain flying with three of the five engines shut down as long as the remaining two engines were symmetrically arranged.

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4. The Zwilling was also used to tow smaller, but still relatively chunky, Gotha 242 transport glider

It can often tow two, and even some occasions, three at once, and can do this for up to 10 hours of cruising speed thanks to its additional fuel tanks.

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5. It didn’t have a particularly long service life

This was because of a couple of reasons. The first was the cancellation of production orders, and the other was Zwilling’s main theater of operation. 

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As a result, most of these planes were concentrated on the Russian front in January 1943, and because of a lack of suitable landing sites, they only saw limited use.

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